Pawlu Micallef Iż-Żusfin

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Pawlu Micallef Iż-Żusfin

Pawlu Micallef Iż-Żusfin.

is an improvised verse folk singer. Born on the 9th March, 1954, he hails from Birkirkara. He began listening to għana quite late in life, in 1995 and entered the musical genre unexpectedly. He was at an event featuring Fredu Abela ż-Żejtuni, Fredu Abela l-Bamboċċu and Nenu Borg Il-Brazz from Birkirkara. Toni Sammut Il-Luzzu urged Borg to encourage Pawlu to folksing.

Micallef folksings on the scales of C major and D major. He can also perform improvised verse between two, spirtu pront ta' bejn tnejn. Pawlu does not come from an għana environment, and is actually also a fan of rock, pop and soul music. His decision to move from rock to għana was consciously made, claiming that when he folksings, he is aware that he is part of this living native culture and is helping keeping it alive.

Micallef sees għana as an analogy to boxing, in that a good folksinger knows how to corner an opponent, who requires the mental strength to come out of the bout unscathed. It is also imperative to keep to the subject being sung, an ability which is becoming rarer. His favourite folksinger is Ninu Galea l-Kalora, because he had the main attributes that makes one, and never dished malice in his verse and the makjetti written and sung by John Laus Il-Lajżer.

He feels that the level of għana has abated in the last two decades, although a new promising crop is coming through and is unhappy with the disturbances and ambient noise generated by the audience during events. He is aware that should one stop during an improvised verse, to allow the noise to subside, like they do in theatres, this could be interpreted that he has forgotten the next stanza to folksing. So they go on, taking the noise within their stride.

Micallef is active through the frequent folk music events held weekly around the country.

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